Greatness, And Not-So Greatness

October 6

Roy Halladay’s performance Wednesday night in Philadelphia was one of the greatest ever by a Major League pitcher.
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It was Halladay’s first post-season game; it was against a strong lineup in a hitter’s park; it was only the second no-hitter in post-season history, and he only allowed one baserunner — Jay Bruce, who drew a walk in the 5th inning.

Halladay had all his pitches working and only a couple of batters even sniffed a hit. It’s an example of what his postseason opponents are in for; and there’s very little dropoff with Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt behind Halladay in the rotation.

I said it to Tony Bruno in August, and I’m more convinced than ever; the Phillies are going all the way. I’m certainly not the only person saying so, but the evidence is overwhelming.

Halladay’s legend looms larger. In fact, if his career ends next month, he might already be a Hall of Fame pitcher. That status is reserved for the best of their generation, and that’s what he is — regardless of how many career wins on his ledger.

***

There’s Roy Halladay, and then there’s Barry Zito.

As Zito deflated an entire stadium Saturday, I posted on Facebook that he shouldn’t throw another pitch, and that he had probably pitched himself off the post-season roster.

Now, it looks like he is indeed off the NLDS roster for the Giants, and that’s the way it should be. Zito didn’t deserve to be there, and there’s really no use for him in a five-game series. He couldn’t get the Padres out Saturday; what do you think he’d do against the Reds, Braves, or Phillies ?

This week, Gary Radnich asked me if it was a good move to drop Zito, because everyone had to “look at him,” knowing they had snubbed him. But it’s not the time of year to worry about feelings, and I told Gary that Zito could not be shocked at the demotion.

Apparently Zito wasn’t, because he owned up to his shortcomings Wednesday night. To his credit he was a stand-up guy, but it was hard to deny that he failed to stand tall on the mound in his most important game.

Money apparently has nothing to do with it. Managing Partner Bill Neukom told Gary on Monday that he was leaving the decision to the baseball people. On face value, that statement did not bode well for Zito.

No player in the post-season is getting a paycheck now, anyway. They all get playoff shares. The Giants stand a better chance of grabbing a bigger share if Zito doesn’t pitch.

***

So, you mean to tell me there were SIX umpires at Target Field Wednesday night, and none could see Greg Golson’s potential game-ending catch in right field ?

It was ruled a trap, and allowed the Twins to bring slugger Jim Thome to the plate, the potential game-tying run in the bottom of the 9th against the Yankees and Mariano Rivera. Fortunately for the Yankees and the umpiring crew, Rivera turned Thome’s bat into kindling and induced a popup to third to end the game.

Expand replay, at least in the postseason. Get the damn call right. I’m not a Yankee fan, I’m just for fairness.

***

The Braves have a great baseball legacy but they have also inflicted the Tomahawk Chop on us. They’re not the only guilty ones: fans of the Florida State Seminoles and Kansas City Chiefs do it as well, and it originated in Tallahassee.

I’m amazed people still find this acceptable. Believe me, I’m not part of the PC Movement, but the “chop” is not only stupid but it’s a hackneyed characterization of a whole group of people, straight out of a 1940’s movie.

Listen, if Native American groups aren’t raising enough of a stink about the “chop” to stop it, I suppose I shouldn’t be upset. But it’s just an insult to anyone’s intelligence, and the people who do the “chop” ought to feel shame.

Am I losing sleep over it ? No. Although I might if that stupid chant music becomes ingrained in my head.

It IS another reason to root against the Braves, despite their universally-loved manager Bobby Cox. The Braves have simply built up too much bad karma.

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One Response to “Greatness, And Not-So Greatness”

  1. dj Says:

    The Phillies are a talented team, but I think the Giants can beat them in a 7 game series. I hope we get the chance to find out. It will make those Bruno segments “must-hear-radio.” Go Gigantes!

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